yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties wikipedia , lookup

Physical therapy wikipedia , lookup

Mary Ellen Goldberg BS, LVT, CVT, SRA, CCRA
As veterinary technicians, we vow to further our knowledge and competence through a commitment of lifelong
learning (National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America [NAVTA] 1987). Over the past decade
awareness of animal physical rehabilitation has increased, and rehabilitation has become a rapidly growing service
within veterinary specialty hospitals, referral centers, and primary care practices. Every day, we hear about laser
therapy and underwater treadmills, equipment that was not traditionally covered in the veterinary technician’s
college curriculum. Learning more about rehabilitation enables the veterinary technician to better assist the
supervising veterinarian when physical rehabilitation therapies are recommended. This article aims to answer some
questions about rehabilitation.
Where Can I Become a Certified Rehabilitation Veterinary Technician?
The greatest asset for effective physical rehabilitation is an educated veterinary team (Sprague 2013). A
rehabilitation technician is a certified, licensed or registered veterinary technician who has completed a prescribed
curriculum to receive the title of CCRA (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant), CCRP (Certified Canine
Rehabilitation Practitioner) or CVMRT (Certified Veterinary Massage and Rehabilitation Therapist). There are
currently three certification programs in the United States that offer the respective titles.
The Canine Rehabilitation Institute offers the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Assistant (CCRA) program for
veterinary technicians and the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) program for veterinarians and
physical therapists at training facilities in Florida and Colorado:
NorthEast Seminars offers the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) or Certified Equine
Rehabilitation Practitioner (CERP) for veterinarians, physical therapists and veterinary technicians at The University
of Tennessee:
Healing Oasis offers the Certified Veterinary Massage and Rehabilitation Therapist (CVMRT) program for licensed
veterinarians; licensed or certified veterinary technicians; licensed physical therapists; licensed nurses and or
licensed / certified massage therapists at their facility in Wisconsin:
What Is Involved in Becoming a CCRA, CCRP, or CVMRT?
Formal educational courses and wet labs are involved for all the certification courses. Each school has its own set of
curriculum. The cost is relatively expensive for a veterinary technician, but this certification will allow the
veterinary technician to command a higher salary. You must be a LVT, CVT, RVT in order to attend. Veterinary
Assistants are not accepted. The best way to investigate the programs is to visit the webpages listed below:
Practice Regulations for Veterinary Technicians
In approximately 40 states and provinces, veterinary technicians are certified, registered, or licensed. Candidates are
tested for competency through an examination which may include oral, written, and practical portions. This process
is regulated by a State Board of Veterinary Examiners, or the appropriate state agency. Every state is unique and
maintains its own regulations with respect to the practice of veterinary medicine. Practice acts, legislated by states
and provinces, often define the responsibilities of the veterinary technician. These responsibilities and duties are
dependent in part on the type of employment the individual chooses. Below are links to Standards for Practice Acts
provided by the North American Veterinary Technician Association and the American Association of Veterinary
State Boards:
Each person needs to investigate their own State Practice Acts to see what encompasses practicing as a veterinary
A rehabilitation veterinary technician should be working under the direct supervision of a credentialed rehabilitation
veterinarian who directs therapy. The larger team can be made up of a credentialed physical therapist, the referring
veterinarian, a veterinary specialist (surgeon, neurologist, etc.), a veterinary chiropractor, acupuncturist, hospital
support staff, the owner, and other trained veterinary professionals (Levine and Adamson 2004).
Overview of Working in the Physical Rehabilitation Field
The duties of the rehabilitation veterinary technician include assisting their supervising therapist in evaluations and
performing therapies. Therapies that the technician can provide include application of prescribed physical modalities
and therapeutic exercises. Part of patient care is ensuring patient records are up-to-date and accurate. Proper
documentation of treatments should be completed each day. Any member of the rehabilitation team should be able
to refer back to the record and understand the needs and past treatments of each patient. Clear client communication
and education is also necessary. Each client’s needs and expectations can vary depending on their time available for
home exercises. The client needs guidance for home exercises and the completion (or not) of home exercises should
be documented in the record. Often, printed instructions, as well as verbal and physical directions need to be
displayed for the client to completely understand what each exercise entails. This is also documented in the record.
Pain plays a role in any patient’s willingness and motivation. A patient’s pain score should be assessed and
documented in the medical record during each visit (American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians [AARV]
n.d.). A detailed history should indicate the degree of pain and the disability (Davies 2014). How does the patient
cope with the disability? If changes in a patient’s pain level are noted, the supervising veterinarian should be
notified. It is very important for the rehabilitation veterinary technician to remain in open communication with their
supervisor about anything abnormal or any changes in progress
Much of the Certified Veterinary Rehabilitation Technician’s day is like any other LVT, RVT, or CVT. Animal
patients are admitted, housed properly, and clean. Often during the day potty breaks are taken so the patient can
relieve themselves. Records are pulled in order for the Therapist (veterinarian or physical therapist). Patient forms
are in order; records sent from the referring veterinarian are available; and equipment is clean, orderly, and ready for
use. Assisting the Therapist with their patients and listening to them is all part of the routine. So at this point, any
veterinary technician could fill this position. What sets the technician apart that is certified in rehabilitation?
Therapeutic Exercises
Therapeutic Exercises are a daily part of the veterinary technician’s routine. The owner/handler must be well
educated on the exercise program, especially the home exercise program (HEP) (McCauley and Van Dyke 2013).
The Therapist chooses the exercises and the technician carries them out. Categories of exercises include
proprioception, balance, speed, endurance, focal strength, pelvic limb-specific, forelimb-specific,
neurorehabilitation, and land treadmill endurance training (Coates 2013). Therapeutic exercise equipment includes
physioballs, cavaletti rails, balance blocks and discs, weights, tunnels, rocker boards, wobble boards, and treadmills
(McCauley and Van Dyke 2013). Patient considerations such as motivation, footing, assistive devices, and
leash/harness control must be assessed prior to beginning any exercise program, and therapist/handler body
mechanics must be monitored to prevent injury (McCauley and Van Dyke 2013). Exercises are designed to address
specific impairments and each is described with a goal, a technique, and a progression (McCauley and Van Dyke
2013). Details about each of these can be found in newly published textbooks such as:
• Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, First Edition. Edited by M. Christine Zink and Janet B. Van
Dyke. John Wiley and Sons, INC. Ames, IA, 2013.,subjectCd-VE0D.html
• Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy 2nd Edition Edited by Millis DL and Levine D. Elsevier,
Philadelphia, PA, 2014.
Yet in order to fully understand the therapies, certification at one of the rehabilitation schools is necessary.
Manual Techniques
Specialized manual techniques are used extensively in evaluating and treating the patient (Coates 2013). Types of
techniques the technician is trained in are (Coates 2013):
“Massage—Effleurage consists of long slow strokes, generally light to moderate pressure, usually parallel
to the direction of the muscle fibers. Petrissage involves short, brisk strokes, moderate to deep pressure,
parallel, perpendicular, or diagonally across the direction of the muscle fibers. It may include kneading,
wringing, or skin rolling Tapotement is rhythmic, brisk percussion often administered with the tips of the
fingers, primarily used as a stimulating stroke to facilitate a weak muscle and Cross-friction massage
involves applying moderate pressure perpendicularly across the desired tissue. Pressure is maintained in
such a way that the finger does not slide across the skin, but rather takes the skin with it.”
Normal Range of Motion (ROM) is the full motion that a joint may be moved through. Passive Range of
Motion (PROM) motion of a joint that is performed without muscle contraction within the available ROM,
using an external force to move the joint (Millis and Levine 2014).
Stretching techniques are often performed in conjunction with ROM exercises to improve flexibility of the
joints and extensibility of periarticular tissues, muscles, and tendons (Millis and Levine 2014).
Physical Modalities
Rehabilitation Physical Modalities are used as an adjunct to the patient’s treatment plan. Physical modalities are
used as tools for pain, weak muscles, inflexibility, limited joint range of motion, and aiding in tissue healing
(Verhagen 2013). The modalities mentioned are not presented in detail. For that, please see the above mentioned
textbooks. Physical Modalities include (Niebaum 2013):
1. Superficial Thermal Agents—hot (thermotherapy) and cold (cryotherapy)
2. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)—usually used to address muscular weakness
3. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)—used for pain relief
4. Therapeutic Ultrasound—a deep heating technique used for rehabilitating musculoskeletal conditions
(Levine and Watson 2014).
5. Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)—(not surgical lasers) are used to accelerate wound healing, promote
muscle regeneration, acute and chronic pain, chronic and acute edema, neurologic conditions, and
postoperative care to mention a few (Millis and Saunders 2014).
6. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT)—benefits include increased bone, tendon, and ligament
healing, accelerated wound healing, antibacterial properties, and pain relief (Niebaum 2013).
Additional areas of education include topics such as aquatic therapy, canine orthotics and prosthetics, rehabilitation
of the orthopedic and neurologic patient, canine sports medicine, pain management, nutrition, and geriatric patients.
Needless to say, a rehabilitation veterinary technician’s job is complex and fulfilling. There are advancements in
veterinary medicine daily, and animal physical rehabilitation is on the cutting edge.
For those that are already credentialed in physical rehabilitation, under NAVTA direction and guidelines, the
formation of the Academy of Physical Rehabilitation Veterinary Technicians is underway. This board certification
will allow the veterinary technician to possess the credential VTS-physical rehabilitation. The Mission Statement of
the Academy is, “We are credentialed rehabilitation veterinary technicians providing assistance in physical
rehabilitation, encouraging veterinary technicians to further education, while improving the quality of animals’
lives.” For information about the Academy please contact the following members of the Proposed Organizing
Kari Koudelka: [email protected]
Kristen Hagler: [email protected]
Mary Ellen Goldberg: [email protected]
American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians (AARV). “Model Standards for Veterinary Physical
Rehabilitation Practice,” n.d.
Coates J. Chapter 6: Manual Therapy. In Zink MC and Van Dyke JB, eds., Canine Sports Medicine and
Rehabilitation, 1st ed. Ames, IA: John Wiley & Sons, 2013, 100.
Davies L. Chapter 11. In Egger CM, Love L, and Doherty T, eds., Canine Rehabilitation in Pain Management in
Veterinary Practice, 1st ed. Ames, IA: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2014, 134.
Levine D, Adamson CP. Conceptual Overview of Physical Therapy, Veterinary Medicine, and Canine Physical
Rehabilitation. In Millis DL, Levine D, and Taylor RA, eds., Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy,
1st ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders/Elsevier, 2004, 18.
Levine D, Watson T. Chapter 19: Therapeutic Ultrasound. In Millis DL and Levine D, eds., Canine Rehabilitation
and Physical Therapy, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2014, 328–339.
McCauley L, Van Dyke JB. Chapter 8: Therapeutic Exercise. In Zink MC and Van Dyke JB, eds., Canine Sports
Medicine and Rehabilitation, 1st ed. Ames, IA: John Wiley & Sons, 2013, 132–156.
Millis DL, Levine D. Chapter 25: Range of Motion and Stretching Exercises. In Millis DL and Levine D, eds.,
Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2014, 431–446.
Millis DL, Saunders DG. Chapter 14: Laser Therapy. In Millis DL and Levine D, eds., Canine Rehabilitation and
Physical Therapy, 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2014, 359–378.
National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). Veterinary Technician Code of Ethics, 1987.
Niebaum K. Chapter 7; Rehabilitation Physical Modalities. In Zink MC and Van Dyke JB, eds., Canine Sports
Medicine and Rehabilitation, 1st ed. Ames, IA: John Wiley & Sons, 2013, 127.
Sprague S. Introduction to Canine Rehabilitation. In Zink MC and Van Dyke JB, eds., Canine Sports Medicine and
Rehabilitation, 1st ed. Ames, IA: John Wiley & Sons, 2013, 83.